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The Evolution of Managed Print Services

28 Jun, 2013 By: Tim Brien, Oki Data Americas

Evolution of MPSManaged print services (MPS) continues to be a growing force in today's printing and imaging industry. Businesses of all sizes no longer see MPS as an added-value amenity, but instead, a valuable service. The market has led to an increased interest in building next generation workplace environments where cost and productivity goals are maximized to address continuing economic pressures.

Perhaps the biggest change to date is the evolution of MPS to managed services (MS). Today, high-growth providers are not just offering simplistic programs; they are delving into the true managed service based business models in which MPS is a component of a larger offering.

The pressure within the industry to move from a simplistic program to a managed service model is high.  In fact, several factors influence the rise of managed service models including the convergence within the market between MPS and MS, commoditization of MPS, and the end-user becoming more knowledgeable about offerings in the market.

In order to meet the expectations of well-informed end-users, dealers must evolve into a managed service-based model MPS providers should look at leveraging partners within the industry to facilitate this process. It’s important to identify partners that make investments in infrastructure and personnel specifically to support the dealer channel.  For example, utilizing current relationships with manufacturers and infrastructure tool providers is an ideal situation. It allows dealers the opportunity to deliver a cost-effective product managed services offering that is supported by a larger organization with more resources rather than building internally. Overall, dealers will have a more profitable and robust go-to-market strategy when partnering with large organizations.

Additionally, leveraging partnerships within the industry often leads to an accelerated program launch and more satisfied end-users; by taking MPS from a simplistic product and expanding the offering to include network management and document workflow, both parties benefit. The end-user enjoys a more streamlined vendor relationship with the added benefit of one company being able to integrate all aspects of the environment verses many companies having responsibility for individual corporate functions. The dealer increases the long term retention of its customers and adds new revenue streams from services such as mobile device support to workflow automation.

A key feature to incorporate into a managed service product offering is mobile device support. Now more than ever, today’s workforce is going mobile and companies are starting to support new bring your own device policies.  More and more organizations find it imperative to access important information remotely from a mobile device. With that in mind, it’s important for providers to offer the ability to access and print documents anytime, anywhere. For example, OKI’s MotionPrint combines several popular print applications and devices to meet the mobile printing needs for a home office, small office, and medium and large businesses. Mobile printing and mobile device management offers an opportunity to add a new service to the end-user, which brings a new source of revenue to the dealer.

Currently in the market, the interest level is high for MPS to grow into a managed service model. End-users have matured and are demanding MPS contracts rather than simplistic printer-only or copier-only needs. They are looking for a single-source provider which can fulfill multiple needs including software, printing, document management and more. In fact, over the next few years, the only option for a provider that does not offer a service-based model will be to compete on price with lower margins in an effort to stay competitive. Ultimately those dealers will only be able to compete on cost as opposed technology or service levels, which prohibits the opportunity to gain new customers.  Dealers that do not adopt the service-based model will have reduced revenue, lower margins, and less customer growth. 

The future of managed print services is moving from a simplistic program level to a more evolved and sophisticated program. MPS will likely become an ever-expanding program moving into document life-cycle management. Dealers are going to have to continue to look at new ways to include more options such as network management, cloud-based capabilities, scan-to features and more.
As channels continue to converge, the industry will evolve rapidly toward a managed service-based business model. Regardless of the challenges, more streamlined and bundled services are a requirement for today’s businesses of any size.  In the end, dealers will benefit by adopting a service-based business model in order to eliminating the competition, create new revenue streams, and securing additional customers. 

Tim Brien is Director of Managed Print Services (MPS) at OKI Data Americas, Inc., Brien is responsible for building the MPS organization, plus the company’s global strategy and expansion of the OKI Total Managed Print™ business, supported by a dedicated MPS team. Since joining OKI in 2010, Brien has been instrumental in the growth of the organization’s Managed Print Services business, and serves as OKI’s face of MPS – frequently speaking at national trade conferences and key industry webinars, and contributing to trade media editorials and blogs.

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